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Article
Publication date: 11 May 2021

Peter Gronn

Abstract

Details

History of Education Review, vol. 50 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0819-8691

Article
Publication date: 21 March 2008

Peter Gronn

This paper aims to assess the empirical utility and conceptual significance of distributed leadership.

15416

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to assess the empirical utility and conceptual significance of distributed leadership.

Design/methodology/approach

Three main sources of evidence are drawn on. The paper reviews some neglected commentary of an early generation of distributed leadership theorists. It also discusses a strand of social science writings on emergent small number management formations. An alternative interpretation of the findings of three recent empirical studies of distributed leadership is provided. Some unresolved issues are considered.

Findings

Distributed leadership arose in reaction to understandings of leadership that emphasised heroic‐like individual behaviour. It has achieved a high level of theoretical and practical uptake. This paper, however, argues for reconsideration. Distributed leadership is shown to be largely unremarkable, especially in light of the continuity between current writings and those of early generation scholars. This claim is also reinforced by the inability of most current scholars to develop the emergent potential of a tradition of writings on the division of labour in small groups (emanating mainly from the work of Georg Simmel). Finally, the paper argues that a more appropriate descriptor for recent leadership analyses may be “hybrid”, rather than “distributed”.

Originality/value

Conceptually and empirically, there is still work to do. First, leadership's distributed status now aligns it with power and influence, each for some time recognised as distributed, although the preference for leadership as a vehicle of analysis ahead of power and influence still lacks sufficient justification. Second, while distributed leadership is sometimes thought of as synonymous with democratic organisational leadership, the latter is shown to be conceptually distinct.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 46 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

Content available

Abstract

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 42 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 2 February 2015

Karen Seashore Louis

563

Abstract

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 53 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Article
Publication date: 1 June 1997

Peter Gronn

With the recent emergence of organizational and systemic restructuring in Anglo‐American societies, leadership and the search for prospective leaders has taken on new…

2551

Abstract

With the recent emergence of organizational and systemic restructuring in Anglo‐American societies, leadership and the search for prospective leaders has taken on new significance. Focuses on leader development and defines the nurturing of leaders as leader formation. Doubt is cast on the efficacy of currently popular leader models, such as transformational leadership, which purport to facilitate and enhance organizational learning. Instead, if leaders are to promote learning, recognition of a shift in focus in leadership studies towards constructivism and contextualism is required. Documents and illustrates these trends by a historical instance of institutionalized leader formation: the English public school tradition of gifted amateur, gentlemanly power. Draws the implications of the case for instrumental approaches to leadership, organizational learning and programmes of management development.

Details

Journal of Management Development, vol. 16 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0262-1711

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 August 2012

Steven Gregory Marshall

The purpose of this paper is to report findings from a larger study into the role of middle leaders of change in New Zealand higher education.

3017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to report findings from a larger study into the role of middle leaders of change in New Zealand higher education.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, ten middle leaders from the New Zealand higher education sector took part in a recent research project which examined successful change leadership in higher education. As part of that larger study, each middle leader answered questions about their views on being in the “middle” in their change leadership roles and their views on middle leadership in general.

Findings

The ten middle leaders all described their place in their respective organisations in terms of being “caught in between”, or “sandwiched between” senior management to whom they were accountable, lecturers whom they described as colleagues or peers, and subordinates for whom they had some functional and often moral responsibility. The paper discusses the perceptions of being in the “middle” and how change leaders reconcile their position as a subordinate, an equal and a superior. Insight is gained into how educational leaders reconcile their position in the “middle” as they hold management responsibility for both academic and general staff who are hierarchically, beneath them; lead teams of colleagues in collegial decision making; and answer to higher authority in the form of senior organisational leadership.

Research limitations/implications

The participant contributions of personal observations and unfolding real life stories which meld personal common sense with local meaning have formed a unique local ontology therefore allowing for a deeper understanding of the contributing factors toward being in the “middle”. Some of these perspectives have been used by the author's own organisation in the development of leadership training for future organisational change, particularly those aspects concerning communication and participation that are tailored to meet the unique needs of management and staff.

Practical implications

For middle change leaders the focussed examination of the working relationship between middle change leaders and staff groups might prove to be a rich area of further study. These relationships take a variety of forms, including where a staff member has risen through the ranks (off the shop floor as it were) to take on the mantle of leadership, or simply where there is a shared understanding based on subject or professional backgrounds which binds the two together. Further investigation into these relationships may provide perspectives that enable leaders to develop a greater understanding of how change occurs.

Originality/value

The paper shows how the participants locate themselves as being “very much” in the middle in terms of line management of both resources and academic matters and often as being caught between competing imperatives, institutional dynamics and institutional structures.

Details

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 26 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-354X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 April 2017

Dong Thanh Nguyen, David Ng and Pui San Yap

The purpose of this paper is to explore the instructional leadership practices and structure in Singapore primary schools.

1407

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the instructional leadership practices and structure in Singapore primary schools.

Design/methodology/approach

The study employs a qualitative approach. Data were collected from interviews of 30 Singapore primary school principals and 25 working-day observations of five principals. A grounded theory method was utilized to analyze the qualitative data.

Findings

The instructional leadership roles of principals can be categorized into four key themes: vision development and implementation, physical and organizational structure, professional development, and leading and managing instruction. Importantly, the study illuminates a hybrid structure of instructional leadership in which both hierarchical and heterarchical elements exist.

Originality/value

The current study expands the global knowledge base on instructional leadership by providing indigenous knowledge of how instructional leadership is enacted in Singapore schools. Simultaneously, this study suggests an agenda for future research on instructional leadership.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 55 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 23 September 2013

Pierre Tulowitzki

The purpose of this paper is to show how school principals in France spend their work time and when and under what circumstances they deal with school improvement-related…

1228

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to show how school principals in France spend their work time and when and under what circumstances they deal with school improvement-related matters.

Design/methodology/approach

For the study presented in this paper, a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods was used. Five French collèges (secondary schools) from one school district were visited for a week each. Each principal was shadowed, his/her actions and the context were recorded and categorized. The shadowing was conducted using a structured observation approach derived from Mintzberg. In addition semi-structured interviews were conducted with all principals. The data were analyzed following a grounded theory approach.

Findings

The results show how principals spend their work time and as well as possible areas of improvement. Among other things, they reveal very fragmented workdays. Most principals put a low emphasis on school improvement and struggle with conflicting expectations (preservation vs innovation). Shared leadership was only observed in one case.

Research limitations

The specificity of the sample limits the possible ranges of interpretation and generalization. Also, it remains unclear whether one week of observation per school is enough to get a reliable estimate of a principal's daily work. There is a need for further empirical studies of the matter.

Originality/value

This paper offers rare insights into the day-to-day work of French school principals. It contributes to the understanding of school leadership practice as well as to the transcultural understanding of school leadership.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 51 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 10 December 2018

David M. Boje

This chapter relates quantum storytelling consulting (QSC) to ensemble leadership theory (ELT) by Rosile, Boje, & Claw (2016). What kinds of leadership does it take to…

Abstract

This chapter relates quantum storytelling consulting (QSC) to ensemble leadership theory (ELT) by Rosile, Boje, & Claw (2016). What kinds of leadership does it take to attend to the forecaring in advance of the future and how does this relate to quantum storytelling? In a music ensemble, no one musician is the star: they are equal, all are the stars of the show, emerging as stars and then taking a supporting role in cyclic rotation. ELT is important to the world ecology because it is a together-we-are-all-leaders approach. Rather than restricting leadership to one or a few people, the ensemble of many networks of leadership is important. I will contrast ELT with more familiar models of leadership: dispersed, distributed, and relational that restrict leadership to a few. One primary difference is that ELT includes both community and ecology and it is rooted in Indigenous Ways of Knowing (IWOK) that extend from the ancient Southwest US and Mexico. My contribution here is to recognize that ELT is rooted in the rhizomatic fractal, whereas the other models of leadership discussed here (dispersed, distributed, and relational) have been linear-, cyclic-, or spiral-fractal waves. A fractal is defined as recurring self-sameness patterns across scalabilities. I will look to Deleuzian rhizomatic-fractals, which ELT purports to be and make an observation: ELT revived and reinvented in late modern capitalism, must be a correlate with the dominant hierarchic kinds of leadership of here and now, which is this world situation we are now in. Does not each revolution (steam, diesel/gas combustion, cyber-information, and liquid modernity) actually create anew the enslavement of human beings in hierarchic forms of leadership? At the end of this chapter, ensemble leadership will be related to whole-world ecological health.

Details

The Emerald Handbook of Quantum Storytelling Consulting
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-671-0

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 21 March 2008

Alma Harris

4551

Abstract

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 46 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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